Promoting Independence Through quality dementia Care at Home (PITCH): a research protocol for a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial
Savvas S., Goh AMY., Batchelor F., Doyle C., Wise E., Tan E., Panayiotou A., Malta S., Winbolt M., Clarke P., Burton J., Low LF., Loi SM., Fairhall A., Polacsek M., Stiles J., Muliadi F., Chau N., Scherer S., Ames D., Sousa TV., Dow B.
Background: Home care service providers are increasingly supporting clients living with dementia. Targeted and comprehensive dementia-specific training for home care staff is necessary to meet this need. This study evaluates a training programme delivered to care staff (paid personal carers) of clients living with dementia at home. Methods: This study is a pragmatic stepped-wedge cluster-randomised controlled trial (SW-CRT). Home care workers (HCWs) from seven home care service providers are grouped into 18 geographical clusters. Clusters are randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. The intervention group receives 7 h of a dementia education and upskilling programme (Promoting Independence Through quality dementia Care at Home [PITCH]) after baseline measures. The control group receives PITCH training 6 months after baseline measures. This approach will ensure that all participants are offered the program. Home care clients living with dementia are also invited to participate, as well as their family carers. The primary outcome measure is HCWs’ sense of competence in dementia care provision. Discussion: Upskilling home care staff is needed to support the increasing numbers of people living with dementia who choose to remain at home. This study uses a stepped-wedge cluster-randomised trial to evaluate a training programme (PITCH) for dementia care that is delivered to front-line HCWs. Trial registration: anzctr.org.au; ACTRN12619000251123. Registered on 20 February 2019.